Do students really need a fourth 'R'?
It used to be that there were only three Rs a student had to learn to become successful: reading, writing and arithmetic. Mastery of these concepts -- along with a little ambition and drive -- made America an economic superpower. Now, anyone with entrepreneurial pursuits here in America must be skilled in a fourth: regulation.
The scope of federal government involvement in the affairs of America's employers has expanded so much it is becoming increasingly difficult not only to sustain an existing business, but to create a new business altogether. It no longer seems "worth it" to aspire to small business ownership. It seems easier to just leave it up to someone else to create the jobs. Unfortunately, if everyone embraces this outlook, the collective wisdom of crowds will prevail, and 9.1 percent unemployment will seem attractive compared to the turmoil that would emerge.
The answer to America's stagnant unemployment rate is not more government, but less. The economic stimulus -- which was supposed to keep the unemployment rate at or below 8 percent -- ended up destroying or forestalling a million private-sector jobs.
What grew during the stimulus experiment was the regulatory scope of Washington.
While 39,284 private-sector jobs have been lost every two weeks under President Barack Obama, public-sector job security has been enhanced. The passage and enactment of his health care law has added thousands of pages of new regulations -- regulations that will have to be enacted, enforced and updated by thousands of new bureaucrats.
New environmental regulations promoted by this administration would add to the payrolls of the EPA, but greenhouse gas regulations would chop 1.4 million private-sector jobs; cement regulations would eliminate 80,000.
This, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg. The Phoenix Center recently released a study that for every one new regulator Washington adds, the private sector loses 98 jobs. This is a detrimental "output."
Excessive regulation drives government to the ends of the earth looking for small-scale "offenders." One needs look only to the USDA's pursuit of a Nixa, Mo., family that rescued bunny rabbits and eventually began breeding and selling rabbits. A fine of nearly $100,000 was levied against them for selling more than $500 worth of rabbits in a year. Failure to pay the fine, they were told, would result in $4 million more in fines.
In western Kansas, a family business is facing thousands of dollars in fines for allowing a teenage child of an employee to operate a lawn mower.
One can only imagine the horror these families are facing right now. What may have seemed like simple, harmless ways for them to earn some extra money -- and to teach their children lessons about hard work -- are now their nightmares. There is a presumption in the law that you are to know it -- ignorance of the law is not a defense -- but there is no reason for laws and regulations like these to exist, particularly when warnings of these rules are not easily accessible.
Learning how to get along with government should not be the fourth classroom "R" one can master; rather, it should be something that can be done with great ease and little pain.
American success stories are written by entrepreneurs, not the government.